The finals of the second edition of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) U17 Peace Cup football competition has come to an end at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, with Donastars Football Club, emerging champions of the annual tournament in a dramatic fashion on Sunday.
Donastars FC came from two goals down to level up the game, with the second goal coming few minutes to stoppage time, and went on to win six-five on penalties against El-Godz Football Club, in a frenzy Abia-derby final, filled with determination and dexterity from both sides.
In the third-place match played earlier, Campus Football Club of Imo State, defeated Ine Stars of Edo State by one goal to nil to finish as the third-best team of the competition, thereby, following the footsteps of another Imo team, Sam Decent Academy, which finished in the third position at the first edition held in Akwa Ibom state last year.
At the end of the second edition of the NDDC U17 Peace Cup, the winners, Donastars FC of Abia, were awarded five million naira for emerging as champions of the competition, El-Godz FC will get three million naira for finishing second, while Campus FC will go home with two million naira as the third best team.
The Most Valuable Player of the tournament went to the captain of Campus FC of Imo, Chukwuemeka Prince, who eventually was the youngest captain at the competition, Jida Justice of Ine Stars, Edo State, won the Highest Goalscorer award, after ending the tourney as joint top scorer with seven goals, but was awarded for scoring first, ahead of Odoemena Pope of El-Godz FC of Abia, who was also presented with a medal for his heroics.
Shotstopper, Solomon Agoziem of Campus FC of Imo won the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament, with Kifa FC of Ondo emerging as the Best Behave Team, while the youngest player of the tournament went to Cyril Eta, of Safe Side FC of Cross River, who is aged 11 years.
Presenting the trophy to the winners of the competition, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Umana O. Umana, once again commended the Grassroot Sports Federation of Nigeria GRASOF, for initiating the tourney, and the Delta State Government for providing an enabling environment for the success of the competition.
The Minister who was represented by Mr. Matthew Pukuma James, said, “the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is indeed privileged to be part of this tournament which provided an opportunity for young lads to display their talents to the world. The football tournament will not only have players develop their individual skills but would entrench the importance of teamwork and the spirit of sportsmanship. These traits, incidentally, are in line with the theme of the tournament which is Peace.”
Ex- Internationals – Christian Obodo, Sam Sodje, and Baldwin Bazuaye, were at the grand finale, where they presented medals and trophies to the winning teams, as well as the individual players that won honours in different categories.
Tournament Coordinator and President of the Grassroot Sports Federation of Nigeria, GRASOF, Hon. John Ekpenyong announced Bayelsa State as the next host of the football competition, which comes up tentatively in December 2023.
This year’s competition recorded a total of ninety-four (94) goals scored, with El-Godz FC of Abia scoring thirteen goals throughout the competition, followed by Donastars FC, with eleven goals, while Ine Stars of Edo State finished the tournament with seven goals.